Monday, February 12, 2007

Does the Toyota Tundra have the right stuff?

The 2007 Tundra represents Toyota's first attempt to match Detroit in size and power. The spec sheets and early tests show that Toyota has built a legitimate rival to Ford, GM and Dodge, said Dan Edmunds, director of automotive testing at Edmunds.com.

"They've hit every key point of a full-size truck with this one," said Edmunds, who drove the Tundra before it went on sale this month.

The Tundra's base price of $22,290 is the highest in the full-size market. GM's redesigned 2007 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra start at $18,760.

The pricing gets closer in the mid- and high-level trims, Edmunds said. The Tundra has some standard features, such as dual-zone climate control and side-curtain air bags, that are optional on some of the competitors.

Toyota does well in the major performance categories. The Tundra's largest engine, a 5.7-liter V8, is at or near the top in horsepower, torque and towing.

Toyota did not simply enter the market with this truck, Edmunds said. It went after best-in-class bragging rights. "The sheer output of the motor is pretty impressive," Edmunds said.

Toyota has pulled out all the stops for the Tundra launch, the largest marketing rollout ever for one of its vehicles in the United States.
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